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Life with RA

From the time Sterling and I returned home from our mission, our plan was to attend at least one event in all the markets and then maybe go on another mission or attend OnStage Local events—just be flexible. As we all know, plans don’t always go our way!

I mentioned in a recent post that my RA (rheumatoid arthritis) has been acting up lately. Well, to be completely honest, my flare started in September and has progressively gotten worse. To keep things short and simple, I’ll just say that I’ve felt worse than I’ve ever felt, and the discomfort (recently turned pain) has almost made me want to go on the prescribed RA drugs; but because it doesn’t feel right to me (and maybe because I’m a little stubborn!), I’ve made it my almost-full-time job to research everything possible and work with anyone who may be able to help me return to full health.

Because of that, Sterling and I decided that instead of planning and preparing for OnStage Live and not feeling well enough at the last minute, it would be best to plan on not traveling extensively for the next few months. Obviously, if things turn around, we’ll get on a plane and go to an OnStage event somewhere in the world. But either way, you’re in good hands!

I want you to know I’m feeling encouraged and hopeful and am trying to patiently trust in God’s timing. I haven’t said much because I don’t like to complain, and this is probably more information than you wanted to know, but I’ve always been pretty open about personal things.  And even though I have felt certain my health would improve any day, this is my current reality.

In the meantime, I’ve been told I’m an eternal optimist, so I’m going to continue to expect improved health every single day! As always, thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

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Reader Comments (132)

Shelli, I will be so sorry to not see you and Sterling at Onstage, but I can completely understand. RA runs in my family and I know the devasting effects it can have and also the way the pain can bring you down.
I hope that you begin to feel better soon and am sending you much love and warm wishes from the uk.
Bigs hugs

February 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
Hi Shelli,
I hope this finds you well today. I am sorry to hear that you have been having such a hard time with the RA. I read that you are having a hard time with not wanting to resort to all the medications, and thought that this might help. I don't usually pass on things like this, mainly because I am not sure how it will be received, but I have used this type of therapy before and have had great success. The company is small, but owners are good, honest people that truly care about helping others. They use nutrition and this therapy to help the body heal it's self and reduce symptoms for many different things, I hope maybe they can help you. Here is a link to the website where you can find more information if you choose.
www.lazrpulsr.com You can also find them on you tube. Good Luck and I wish you nothing but the best!
February 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKelli Needham
I am sorry to hear you are having so much discomfort. My prayer for you is that the RA will slow it's progression, or better yet be halted, and that it won't stop you from being able to stamp since that is so stress relieving and your passion.
February 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSandi Hurford
May God bless you and give you peace and comfort. You are in my prayers.
February 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCarol Tennant
Shelli.. I have always loved the way you have shared your personal life with us. It has always made me feel so much more connected. I will be praying for your comfort and strength while you study your alternatives and make your future decisions. Take good care of yourself and I look forward to seeing you at an event somewhere in the world sometime in the future.
February 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Hunt
Shelli, please know you're in my thoughts and prayers. I too suffer from autoimmune diseases. In my personal experience I found a functional medicine practitioner to be most helpful. Something new I just started taking for pain is low dose naltrexone. It's less harsh than most RA meds. Best of luck to you with conquering this storm.
February 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJessica Davis
So sorry to hear of your RA health issues. I've been recently diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis. It has mostly affected my feet and legs, making it painful to walk or get up from sitting. I also don't want to take the med the doctor suggested (Humira) because of all the side effects. I too want to find an alternative way to treat. I hope you find a treatment that you feel comfortable using, as do I. Take care, and God Bless.
February 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPam Shrake
I would especially like to thank you for the opportunity of meeting and chatting with you and Sara at the Brisbane On Stage. I felt so privileged to be with you all. And most delighted to be part of the SU family.
My husband was diagnosed with RA just under three years ago. That came on top of other auto immune issues and was quite a shock. The RA seems to advance so rapidly and his life changed. Luckily, his new treatment suits him, has given him relief and he feels 'he has his life back'.
I continue to marvel at how you do the amazing things that you do. You are a fabulous example to me and I'm sure many others. I hope do that you are able to sort out the least invasive drugs and treatment, and gain some relief.
Thank you so much for sharing this part of your story.
February 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMargi Sank
Shelli, My sister has been battling RA for years. As you, she is so positive! There are times i do not know how she goes on. She has had several surgeries to repair joints that wouldn't work anymore. She also undergoes Remicaid (Spelling???) once a month. That does wonders for her. I say that, not to encourage you to do something you do not feel comfortable with, but to let you know that at least one person uses it and has positive results. You are in my prayers. I wish you guidance to make the right choices for YOU - not someone else!! Blessings.
February 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterHarriett
I'm so sorry for your the lack of "quality of life" you are experiencing. We have so been there! Years ago, my husband had a heart virus. After treating it the best they could, the doctors sent him home to die. An acquaintance from church, brought over 2 bottles of herbs. I really didn't know anything about herbs but I felt we had no choice. That was our introduction to Alternative Medicine". Lol! Today my husband gets "preferred rate" on his life insurance because the tests show his heart is strong! I could share with you many more miraculous stories of how we have been blessed through the herbal knowledge we have acquired over the years. Unfortunately we are now fighting ALS; but praise the Lord we are seeing definite signs of improvement. Whether there will be complete healing or just improvement in the quality of life, I do not know; however, he is so much better. My husband works with people to aid them in controlling their issues; and we know he can help you. Not all herbs and supplements are created equal but we use excellent brands that have proven very effective. We would be willing to help you.
February 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn
Shelli, I'm so sorry to hear about what you are going through and I will certainly pray for you. I'm sure you have received tons of advice, tips and suggestions. I don't have RA but I am a breast cancer survivor and I also received a lot of suggestions. There was one, though, that really helped me and since then I have found some studies that have been done that show evidence that there is a supplement that has and can make a difference. Have you ever heard of or tried Turkey Tail mushrooms as a supplement, they come in an easy to swallow capsule. The NIH (National Institute of Health) has mainly studied them regarding breast cancer and they were found to make a significant difference in it's treatment, but ultimately their purpose is to boost the immune system. I've read that some (but not all) people with autoimmune diseases have been helped by this supplement too. After and during my chemo and radiation treatments my immune system was shot and I got every bug that came along; I was sick for 2 weeks, well for one, sick for 2 weeks... rinse, repeat. These made an amazing difference, since I started taking them I rarely ever get sick and if I do, I get over it quickly. I believe they have no reported side effects. I also read somewhere that because of the part of the mushroom used in the supplement, Host Defense brand are the best ones to get. I've also read up on the company as they are in my home state and they seem to be environmentally conscientious as well. I was very skeptical when I tried them but they have made a huge impact on the quality of my life and I just want to share that with you. God bless you!
February 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLinda
Shelli, hang in there. I also have RA, have had it for 26 years. I have learned to pace myself and not overdo anything. I give myself plenty of rest and when something is hurting too much, I stop, rest, then continue what I was doing. Prayers to you.
February 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDeanna Grewn
Thanks for sharing your personal struggles. It always helps to know that I'm not alone and that very important people have real struggles too. I'm sorry that your RA has gotten worse. Take care of yourself. I will keep you in my prayers! I will miss possibly seeing you at OnStage.
February 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKristi Kelly
As someone who was diagnosed (incorrectly) with RA at the age of 32 (and am now 54), I can certainly sympathize with what you are going through. My heart goes out to you and your family as you search for ways to improve your circumstances. As much pain as we endure, it was even more painful to find out last year that I do not have RA & the doctors are not sure what my problem is. BUT...in the midst of this I KNOW that we have a God who is our great physician and healer. He knows our needs even before we do! I am praying for healing for you. Yes, we are also called to take care of these vessels we inhabit, so I encourage you to prayerfully find what works best for you until you are healed. You are such a vital individual that I know God will also use you to minister to others in the midst of this difficulty. I'm sooooo thankful for you and the people who have made Stampin' Up the company it is today. I am proud to be a small part of an encouraging business that keeps priorities in line. Please be encouraged that God is doing a good work in you and will be faithful to complete it to the very end! God bless!
February 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterResa
Hello Shelli, I feel so much empathy for you and those who suffer with RA. Although I do not feel as much pain as you, I do have arthritis in all the usual places, knees, lower back,hips, neck, hands, fingers. I hope you would consider seeking out a Tai Chi for Arthritis class. I have been a certified instructor for 6 years and has helped me manage joint pain. I have healed myself and rarely take any medication for the inconvenience. I do also practice yoga. With the regular practice of both Tai Chi and yoga, I don't even think about the arthritis that affects my joints. But, focus on helping other Seniors enjoy the exercise in helping my students manage arthritis-- improving balance, stability, mind-body connection, breathing and coordination; using every muscle and tendon in the body. It is an internal as well as external exercise. Please look at the website: taichiforhealth.org. There are instructors teaching all over the world. The TCA classes were founded by a physician in Australia who also developed arthritis at a young age. Please try Tai Chi and slowly you will be able to find some relief.
February 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLynn L
Correction to previous Post. The correct website is: taichiforhealthinstitute.org
The website has an enormous amount of information, testimonials and sample videos you can watch. You can also locate an instructor near you in the directory.
February 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLynn L
I have actually been waiting for this post. You do not complain, but sometimes there are those of us that want to hear how someone else is handling the same disease. Letting us know is helpful for us. I am assuming that you tend to push yourself further than you should. I have the same tendency and then my body starts screaming at me! Not the best choice, but I am learning. I will be praying for you as well.
February 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Ingersoll
Shelli, I can only somewhat imagine what you might be going through as I have Lupus and recently thought I was having a flare. Turned out to be something different and luckily curable. I pray you will will continue to trust God's graciousness and stay an optimist. I'm one too and have been told a bit stubborn but it helps me get thru along with my faith. Hugs to you and prayers for healing. Enjoy your beautiful new Grandson, so beautiful. God will take care of the rest. Hugs.
February 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRamona Simpson
Shelli, I know I am not an expert but here are a few ideas for you to research for relief IF you have not done so already. I personally use some of these ideas and have others that use it with results. TUMERIC, is a natural healer/helper. read up on it, take it in powder form in a little juice. It is best as an Anti inflammatory and the Antioxident part helps neutralize free radicals so it helps bones and muscles to reduce pain. Another aid...I use Essential oils, you can breath it, mix them and apply to sore areas.My husband drinks 2 TBS of Vinegar, 1/8 tsp cyan pepper, 1/4 tsp tumeric with some water every day...unbelievable change in his joints. Just some suggestions along with prayer. you can contact me at my email if you would like more information or direction to search. Naomi. bikenmama@gmail.com God Bless
February 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNAOMI
Shelli, I am so sorry that you are suffering with your RA. I was diagnosed 8 years ago and it was not a fun journey. I was unable to walk or hold many things in my hands. My 6 year old granddaughter asked me at the time if I would ever be able to walk again - and I said yes, but maybe not able to run! After much thought and prayer, I entered a study for a drug that my Rheumatologist said would be the holy grail for RA. He was right and I would be there poster child anytime. Does it have side effects? Yes, but I had to tell myself that the quality of my life was more important and they are more long term than short. My RA has been in remission now with no further damage to joints for three years and I might even be able to run if other things wouldn't happen! I also have OA which causes pain, but nothing like along with my RA. My motto is push through the pain and make a difference somewhere in a day. You are in my thoughts and prayers as you find what will work for you. These decisions are not easy ones, but I know the Lord will help guide you in the right direction. You are a precious lady, and there are many things you are still to do pain free! Thank you, Shelli, for sharing.
February 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Billingsly
Dear Shelli, I have a lot of medical problems, so I'm right there with you! Check out herbs and spices. I started drinking Bratts apple cider vinager, lemon juice, ceylon cinnimon, ginger, and I add tumeric: It helps with infalmation, swelling, etc. just a thought
February 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJeannie S.
Dear Shelli,

You are the most optimistic person I know and always smiling! So sorry to hear your RA flare up has gotten worse than ever. I am sure you will find the right avenue and treatments that will feel right for you in time. So many others have similar pain and ideas to share that are working for them. My prayers and hugs to you and your family as you deal with this day to day.
February 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDenise Waddell
Praying for you Shelli as you seek a way forward and through this really yucky time......it is always the right thing to do to look after your health. Sending big hugs from Australiaxxxx
February 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNess
I'm praying for you, you are such a strong and inspirational Woman but you still can't do it alone! I have been suffering an RA flare up also and suffer from the same stubborn issues! Just trying to figure out if there is anything that I can cut out of my diet that will improve the symptoms. I hope for your own sake that you get better and can attend on an Onstage, I'm sure they must be really up lifting for you. Thanks for sharing your heart.
February 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEsther
Shelli, Thanks for sharing your struggle with RA. I hope your research turns up some natural cures vs. the RA prescriptions you'd rather avoid. I will put you In my prayers that you will get some relief from the severe pain RA can bring. I would recommend giving yourself a lot of relaxation time. I have found massage to be very therapeutic. Don't worry yourself, take all the time you need. I am a hobby demonstrator and love being part of your extended family. Happy belated Valentines Day! We love you!
February 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterFlo D'Elia

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